Reaching the pinnacle

Text by Jonno Turner
Heading back to Newport, RI!
Record numbers
Reaching the pinnacle Text by Jonno Turner
UPDATE: The Male category was won by Kiwis Blair Tuke and Peter Burling, with Sarah Ayton scooping the prize in the Female category.

It's the most prestigious individual award a sailor can receive - a symbol of recognition for their outstanding achievements in this sport.

That's right: the ISAF World Sailor of the Year Award. And despite the Volvo Ocean Race being a massive team effort, it's only right that some of our outstanding leaders were shortlisted for the prize.

In the male category, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper Ian Walker. A two-time Olympic medallist, the Brit finally got his hands on the Volvo Ocean Race trophy this edition at the third attempt.

"Winning the Volvo Ocean Race was not only a special moment for me but also a special moment in the sporting history of Abu Dhabi," says Ian.

"The Volvo Ocean Race is a huge mental and physical challenge and I am extremely proud to have followed in the footsteps of some of my childhood heroes like Sir Peter Blake."

"Personally it took me 8 years of hard work to win this race but you cannot achieve anything without a great team of people with you. Being nominated for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award is an absolute privilege."

In the female category, Sam Davies has been nominated for her campaign as skipper of Team SCA. 

The first all-female crew to enter the race in over a decade, Sam and her team mates set out to inspire a new generation of women - and they certainly managed that.

Indeed, they made history with a Leg 8 win into Lorient on June 11 this year, when they became the first all-female team to win a Leg of this race in 25 years.

The awards were presented today (November 10) in another place with strong Volvo Ocean Race connections - Sanya, China - the city that the two sailors visited in February this year.

Also nominated in the male category was Team Volvo's world champion finn sailor Giles Scott. Winners were selected by various means including the ISAF member authorities and by those in attendance on the night.